In a rather extensive and, surprisingly, detailed blog post, Microsoft's Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, shed more details about the upcoming Xbox Series X gaming console, confirming details about the all AMD hardware inside.
Custom Zen 2-based CPU and 12TFLOPs RDNA 2 GPU from AMD
According to details provided by Phil Spencer, as well as details revealed earlier by AMD, the Xbox Series X will use a custom Zen 2-based CPU, as well as an RDNA 2-based GPU, providing 12 TFLOPs of GPU performance, double the power of the Xbox One X.
Bear in mind that AMD's RDNA-based Radeon RX 5700 XT peaks at 9.75 TFLOPs, so we can expect a hefty performance boost from AMD's next-gen RDNA architecture on the PC side as well.
In addition to raw performance, the RNDA 2-based GPU inside Xbox X Series will support Variable Rate Shading (VRS), a rendering technique supported by most APIs, which varies the shading rate for different parts/regions of the frame, thus increasing both performance and quality. Bear in mind that Nvidia already supports VRS with its Turing GPU architecture, and it is also supported with Intel's Gen11 GPU architecture.
Phil Spencer also mentions hardware-accelerated DirectX raytracing, something that has been a rumor for AMD's upcoming RDNA 2 architecture and is now pretty much confirmed. This proves that raytracing is a big deal and that Nvidia was on the right track with Turing and its RTX push, and others are simply playing a catch-up game.
The rest of the hardware improvements also include SSD storage, which is pretty much the only way to go with storage today, as well as HDMI 2.1 support, which will bring several improvements like Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and support for 120Hz, and 8K TVs. The list also includes Dynamic Latency Input (DLI), a feature that will optimize latency, starting with Xbox Wireless Controller.
Quick Resume, backward compatibility, and more
The blog also lists several other features, including the new Quick Resume feature, which will allow gamers to continue multiple games from a suspended state almost instantly, without pesky loading screens.
The backward compatibility is important and the Xbox Series X will be compatible with existing Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games.
There is also Smart Delivery feature, which will make sure you get the right version of the game, whether you are playing it on Xbox One or Xbox Series X, which suggest that you might not have to buy the game twice, and some games that you own will work on Xbox Series X, and you'll simply get the upgraded version for free. This was later confirmed by CD Projekt Red, which states that its upgraded versions of Cyberpunk 2077 for Xbox Series X will be available for free to those that already own the game.
Phil was also keen to talk about the Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft's subscription service, which will probably get updated with the new Xbox Series X.
Still no precise release date, more details in next months
Unfortunately, Microsoft is still not ready to talk about the release date, and so far Holiday 2020 is the most precise date, which is pretty much what was the best guess anyway as the company aims to cash in as it might easily be the best gift to place under the tree.
Microsoft also promised that we will hear more details about the new Xbox Series X in the coming months and we are looking forward to hearing more about it.